Saint Etienne du Mont has a rich history that goes back to 6th century when the chapel was formed from the crypt of St.Genevieve. A separate church was built on the north side of the chapel during 13th century. It was enlarged in 1328 but reconstructed completely at the end of 15th century with the bell tower built in 1624.
The church is famous because it contains the shrine of St. Genevieve (patron saint of Paris) and has a beautiful interior but I only saw it from pictures because we were there late in the evening and started to take pictures of the side steps of the church!
It sounds funny I know but these are the steps are featured in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris, this was the spot where Owen Wilson was waiting for the old car to take him magically back to Paris of 1920s and meet with Cocteau, Cole Porter, Hemingway, Bunuel, Dali, Picasso and many other famous artists that lived in Paris that period (it’s really funny when he explains to Bunuel he came from the future and as a surrealist he finds it normal). So, what we did was spent some minutes trying to get pictures of us on the same spot…. I may be hyperbolic but places like this are way more Paris than the famous Eiffel etc Of course the magic old Peugeot never came for us :( But we saw the film again that night :)
Pic 4 shows the famous steps
Pic 5 is taken down from the street from where the car approached the church
The first sign of a church here dates back to 1222, and quite quickly became too small due to the number of schools in the area, but it took around 400 years to almost finish, after enlarging it, adding bits and then a complete reconstruction, with the first stone of the new facade being laid in 1610. Finally finished some 16 years later work carried on inside, with the grand organ being added in 1636 and further apartments for the priests even later. The fabulous jube was built around 1530 fortunately not suffering during the restructuration and is the only one of its type in Paris.
Although the church was closed during the Revolution it didn't suffer too much and only the facade and some statues really needed restoration. After Pope Pius VII in 1805, Pope Jean-Paul II celebrated mass here in 1997.
Lastly, if you've seen the film "Midnight in Paris" the steps to the left of the main door facing the "rue de la Montagne-Ste. Genevieve" are the ones seen in the film where Owen Wilson sits before taking the car at midnight.
Cardinal Lemoine is the closest metro.
This old and lovely church is dedicated to St. Stephen but more famously enshrines relics of Paris' patron saint, Geneviève. As legend has it her prayers rescued the city from the ravages of Attila the Hun in 451 and after her death in 512, she was entombed in a since-demolished abbey church where the Panthéon now stands. Eventually crowds of pilgrims overran that chapel and this larger basilica was constructed next door to manage the overflow. It took nearly 135 years (1492 to 1626) for completion and has the only surviving rood loft in Paris: a gorgeous, lacy bridge that floats between nave and choir and which is accessed by flanking spiral staircases.
The earthy remains of poor Geneviève had been moved to St Stephen's from her previous resting place, and her bones were destroyed during the French Revolution but part of her stone sarcophagus survived, along with some other bits and pieces, and is encased in a gilded reliquary.
The church also has some old and interesting stained glass and a beautifully carved wooden pulpit dating to 1651. Jean-Paul Marat was kicked out of his spot in the Panthéon and re-buried in the cemetery here.
Hours are: closed Mondays; 8:45 - 12:00 and 2:30 - 7:45 Tuesday - Sunday.
Entrance is free
Situated on the hill where Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, was buried, Sainte-Etienne-du-Mont traces its roots back at least to the 8th century AD. It was originally part of the Abbey of Sainte Geneviève, but later became an independent church. The existing edifice is of a complete reconstruction between 1492 and 1626, which has left nothing of the original structure. This period saw the transition from Gothic to Renaissance styles as evidenced by the mix of styles both inside and outside.
This beautiful church is located right beside the Pantheon and is of ten referred to as St Genevieve's after the patroness of Paris to whom it is dedicated.
St Etienne's is a gothic church which took over 130 years to build (1492 - 1626) It was originally part of an abbey which had to be enlarged over time to accommodate the many devotees of St Genevieve who made their pilgrimages to the site. Her remains are buried there. The last remnant of the ancient abbey is the stone tower that still stands beside the church (see photo 2.)
The most notable architectural feature of St Etienne's is a giant ornate rood screen which resembles an ornate bridge and crosses the nave in a way which might be described as flamboyant. Apparently although it is, for the most part, greatly admired by all who see it, there have been some people over time who have quite simply hated it. Myself? I think it is one of the most wonderfully memorable features that I have ever come across in a church anywhere.
Another feature is the timber pulpit which rests on a sculpture of Samson, who is depicted as having just overcome a lion.
This delightful chapel is near the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter. In addition to having some religious significance thanks to the relics of a saint and a visit from a pope, it also has some amazing stained glass. The atmosphere is very peaceful and makes a nice break after the uphill climb.
L.Guerin's lavish early 17C Renaissance style facade stands before the nave of St.-Etienne du Mont at the depth of the Pl. Ste.-Genevieive which runs past the north side of the Parthenon. This is the highest ground in the Latin Quarter ( the Montagne Ste.-Genevieve). The tower to the right is the Tour de Clovis, described elsewhere (a Sorbonne Tip). The facade presents three totally different pediments and treatments but maintains a vertical rhythm like a set of ripples in a pool. The belfry to the left was started 150 years earlier. Inside, beyond the unique rood-screen, on the right is the shrine of Ste. Genevieve. These two unusual features will be treated in other Tips.
Ste.-Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. She may have lived in the early 5C as a shepherdess whose religious path included historical prophesy. What mortal fragments survived the destructions of the Revolution are enclosed in a modern gilded copper shrine on the altar. A piece of her sarcophagus is in a large gilded case on the floor. Nearby toward the door is a 16C Entombment group with stained glass of that period behind it.
As we walked from the Arena to the Panthéon, we found ourselves passing this interesting looking church, just across the way. At the entry, I noticed a sign to say that photography is prohibited, which seemed a bit much given that there was nobody else present!
The current church dates from 1610, replacing earlier churches which became too small for the growing population. The significance of the church is that it is largely dedicated to St Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris: in the very broadest terms, she was an “earlier St Joan of Arc”, a pious country girl who told the Parisians that God would save them from Attila and his army of 700,000 Huns! Attila veered away.
Built in an interesting mixture of styles, with the interior largely Flamboyant Gothic, we were quite taken with the result. I anticipate being turned to a pillar of salt very soon, because it seems I inadvertently bumped the shutter release of the camera while inside!
Main photo - St Etienne du Mont
photo 2 – Sign on façade about period of construction
photo 3 – The church facade
photo 4 - The interior.
Although it is not the most known church of Paris, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is one of the most beautiful ones.
Its origins date of the 13th century but it was much renovated in 1492. It is very original for the mix of styles: some Romanesque, some Gothic... The construction of the façade started in 1610 and finished in 1622. You can see the portico with the typical "ring columns" by Philibert Delorme. The bell tower is decorated with a well achieved in 1624.
Anyway, don't mind all these dates and enjoy the extravagance of the façade before going inside. Close your eyes...
Other attractions of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont are the lateral chapels with beautiful paintings and altars (first and second pictures), where you can also find the busts of Racine and Pascal, as well as the windows dating of the 16th and 17th century.
Apart from these artistic wonders, the church has also an important religious meaning: it houses the sarcophagus of Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris (see last picture).
Well, this is all about one of the most beautiful churches in Paris, which you shouldn't miss for any reason!
The interior of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is one of the strangest you could ever imagine.
The two lateral aisles are as high as the central nave and form an ambulatory around the altar.
However, your attention will certainly be caught by the wonderful ambo (or pulpit) in the middle of the nave. This marble lacework may have been built by Philippe Delorme around 1530-35. Have a look at the vaults above you (fifth picture).
I always enjoy visiting churches when I'm traveling because they always show architecture at its best, they're full of impressive works of arts, have a lot of history... and admission is free! The three best-known churches in the Latin Quarter are Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (the oldest church in Paris after Saint-Germain-des-Pres, dating back to 1165), Saint-Severin (a great example of Gothic architecture, with countless gargoyles sticking out in all directions), and my favorite one: Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. Saint-Étienne was built during the 13th century, but the population, mainly composed of students, quickly outgrew the original building so plans were made to enlarge it - this was done section by section, mixing late Gothic with Italian Renaissance styles, which contributed to giving the church its trademark eclectic appearance.
One of my favorite features inside the church was the chapel dedicated to Sainte-Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. The French philosopher, physicist and mathematician Blaise Pascal was also buried at Saint-Etienne, along with French playwright Jean Racine.
Many of the windows have fine stained glass and more glass in a different style is present along the cloister wall in the chancel at the back of the apse. A fine carved pulpit graces the nave supported by a Samson. The organ is reputed to have a great sound. (We have never heard it). And there are the shrine of Ste. Genevieve and the tombs of some very famous men.
The pretty church of St.-Etienne sits upon its hilltop in the Latin Quarter diminished by the hulk of the Pantheon next door and by the scurrying of masses of students from the adjacent Paris Universities. Not only is its facade different, but its very late Gothic interior has design features not often encountered. There is an (for Paris) unique elaborate rood-screen (an early Catholic device for separating celebrants from congregants during worship). This one is structurally open and gives a complete view of the Altar and Lady Chapel in the apse. Its delicate carving and lateral spiral staircases make the screen a gem. The stonework is amplified by a Flamboyant Gothic vaulting with stalactite pendant keystones and elaborate bosses. The lateral walls as well are innovative with tall wide windows, while a balustrade mimics the design of the screen staircases.